how to deal with work stressPinDo you often feel there are never enough hours in the day to get done all that you want and need to do?

If I could I would grant you a day you could stretch, like magical silly putty, until there was enough room in it to do all you have planned.

And yet even if such a thing were possible, I doubt it would satisfy you.

Somehow I just know that your stretched day would challenge the limits of my magic silly putty as you would fill the available space with a never-ending stream of “to-do”s, “have-to”s, “should”s, “want-to”s and “hope-to”s.

It might just be time for you to take a TIME OUT!

No, I don’t want you to sit in a corner but I do want you to step back and regroup.

Here are five ways you can tell if you need that time out:

  • You are seemingly irritated by everyone and everything. When things get so bad that even the breathing of the person you live with drives you crazy, you need to step away and get a grip.
  • You spend your time obsessing about the politics at work, feeling slighted and planning your revenge – a sure sign that you are most likely weeks too late on a much needed vacay to put things in perspective.
  • Your brain starts hiccupping in new and weird ways. You get up to give that important presentation and find you can’t remember key details. No, you aren’t suffering memory loss – your brain has reached its limit and the amount of stuff you have packed in without a break has started to leak out just when you need it most.
  • You are sleeping too little or too much and feel always physically tired. One of the easiest ways to know you need a time out is to check in with your energy. If your energy is low and staying that way for several days in a row, get thee to a massage table followed by a weekend in the country where you have nothing to do but stare at trees or the ocean.
  • You can’t remember the last time you laughed until it hurt. In fact you don’t even know how you became the person who takes everything so seriously. Once your sense of humor starts to go you need silliness emergency care – and definitely a TIME OUT!

What You Need To Do Next

Most likely it would take three (3) weeks off from your job before you would completely relax and detach from your day-to-day life. And that’s because week one you would still be checking emails and thinking about all that work waiting for you when you get back. Week two you would start to feel relaxed and better able to realize you (and everyone else) are not indispensable to the workings of the universe (or your job). And by week three you will be back to being just you – not the you that is defined by the many roles you play at work and at home.

In week three is where you might just decide to weave baskets and run a bed and breakfast instead of returning to life as it was when you left.

But Since You Can’t Just Take 3 Weeks Off…

how to deal with work stressPinNot that you’ll take three weeks off, especially if you live in the U.S. where there is no legally mandated vacation and taking time away has long been thought of as a giant speed bump on the career fast track!

So, since I can’t talk you into taking a bunch of time off here are some mini time-outs you can take to keep yourself in check and in balance in your daily life.

Remember that taking a holiday of a week or more has been shown to increase creativity and productivity not to mention overall happiness and satisfaction with life and work.

Just saying . . . .

Here are my suggestions for your mini time-outs:

  • Add mini-breaks into your day. Do some deep breathing, take a walk at lunchtime, turn off the phones and all the other equipment and take a 20 minute power nap at your desk.
  • If you are feeling emotionally overloaded get in your car, roll the windows up and scream at the top of your lungs until you feel better. Try to do this where no one can see you; otherwise your co-workers or neighbors may think you need rescuing. Believe it or not I used to do this when I was completely overloaded by the demands of my high-powered corporate career. I would go into the garage, sit in the car and let loose. Tip – don’t turn the car on – LOL!
  • Get out with friends for a quick coffee and reconnect. And don’t spend the time griping about everything you don’t like about your job or your relationship. Take a vacation from negativity – a powerful time out that will have you seeing things from a more realistic perspective.

Don’t make me have you sit in a corner!!